The goal of an Acton Elementary studio is to equip each learner with the work ethic and relationship skills to be an independent learner. Our heroes learn these skills by working hard and learning from their mistakes. Being offered the freedom to fail and learn from failure is a pivotal pillar at Acton Academy Hamilton. The Elementary studio has four main learning parts: Socratic discussions, core skills, civilization and quests.
Socratic launches are discussions about heroes, history and self governance to hone critical thinking skills and the ability to think, write and speak. They provide time to reflect, think deeply, and bond as a group.
Core Skills is the block of time each day for learners — armed with headphones, a laptop, and SMART goals — to work alone and at their own pace toward mastery of reading, math, and writing. The skills of time management, focus, and self-control are integrated and practiced throughout. Work done during Core Skills allows learners to be independent creators, powerful problem-solvers, and communicators. The ethos that grows around Core Skills through Build-the-Tribe Quest and Morning Launches is energetic and purposeful — the more you learn and practice, the more you can do in your life.
The purpose of Civilization in the ES studio is to develop a deep curiosity about the history of the world, the human experience, and geography. This helps build a basic framework for time periods, significant events in history, and cycles within the human experience in order to make connections from the past to the present and predictions for the future.
Quest time is cooperative and engaging. The heroes work on real life problems and challenges to uncover new learning. A Quest is a four- to seven-week series of learning challenges and role plays. It is bound by individual and team-based gamification, a compelling narrative, and ends with a high-stakes Exhibition. Quests are designed to deliver 21st-century “learn to learn” (processes, frameworks, and algorithms), “learn to do,” and “learn to be” skills. In a traditional school, STEM courses have learners spending far too much time memorizing and regurgitating facts, replaying 18th-century experiments, or worshiping science as Scientism rather than finding ways to solve real-world problems. Acton Academy Quests focus on the analysis and critical thinking skills needed to make thoughtful tradeoffs, and organizational skills needed to lead a team to accomplish the impossible under real-time pressure, and are measured by the customer satisfaction of visitors to an Exhibition — not arbitrary grades from an adult.